RPW Column: Looking Back A Bit – Second Week Of July

Column By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WAVERLY, RI – Seventy Years ago in 1950, Mickey Gill was the winner at Seekonk.

Sixty five years ago in 19055, Dave Humphrey was the Sportsman winner at Seekonk. Lou Tetreault was the non-Ford winner.

Sixty years ago in 1960 Tommy Fenley was the Friday night winner on the dirt at Stafford Springs. Dick Beauregard was the Wednesday night winner at the Waterford Speedbowl. He carried his win streak to Saturday night when he won again. Also recording wins on Saturday night was Hank Stevens in the non-Fords and Eddie Moody in the Bombers. Freddie Schultz was the big winner at the Norwood Arena. Leo Roy was the A division winner at Seekonk. Reino Tulonen was the Cut Down winner.

Fifty five years ago in 1965 the ever popular Pete Corey took the Friday night win at Stafford Springs. Joe Trudeau scored a popular win at the Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night. Bill Scrivner was the Bomber feature winner. A new speedway in the northeast made its debut. Joe Lesik built a 4/10 asphalt oval in Malta, NY. He tried for a NASCAR sanction but was denied. He aligned his track with the United Stock Car Club of Harvey Tattersall for the first year of racing. The speedway, which in coming years would see the best of New York state and New England do battle, opened on July 16. Billy Greco took the opener and was followed by Don Flynn, Ed Patnode and Jerry Humiston. Rain washed out the racing at Fonda on Saturday night. At Seekonk, Bobby Sprague was the Modified winner. Eliot Goff was the B division winner,

At the Utica-Rome Speedway on Sunday night hometown favorite Jerry Cook took the 30 lap win over Tom Kotary and Rene Charland.

Down in the southland in Richmond VA Ray Hendrick ran away and hid as he won the Southside 150 by five laps to score his fifth win of the season. Hendrick earned $600 for his efforts. Red Foote finished second with Dennis Zimmerman, third. At the Bowman Grey Stadium Jim Paschal took the lead from Bobby Allison with nine to go and went on to win the Carolina 400. Elton Hill finished 12th and Eddie Flemke, 25th. The Moyock Speedway in North Carolina rounded out the weekend with a 150 lap Modified event which was won by Red Foote over Eddie Flemke, Ted Hairfield, Bobby Allison and Gene Lovelass. Allison would go on to become thw 1965 NASCAR National Modified Champion.

Fifty years ago in 1970, the All Star League visited Lebanon Valley on Wednesday where Buzzie Reutimann won the 100 lap main event over Will Cagle and Bob Rossell. Friday night at Malta Joe Thomas took the win over Eddie Flemke and Dick Nephew. Flemke drove a car owned by Richie Evans who at that time was under suspension from NASCAR because he had raced in non sanctioned events. On Saturday night at Stafford, Fred DeSarro went two for two as he won both of the twin 25’s. At Plattsburg, Brian Ross brought his own car and won the main event over Gene Mangino and Joe Thomas. Twin 25 action at Fonda saw Lou Lazzaro and Lee Millington in the top spots. Dick Dunn, who was destined to become a multi-time track champion won the Modified feature at Waterford. Larry Crandall was the Late Model Daredevil winner. Bobby Sprague and Deke Astle scored A division wins and Don Dionne and Walter Tripp did likewise in the B division.

On Sunday at Thompson, DeSarro was headed for a two-fer when Leo Cleary stepped in to take the nightcap. Utica-Rome closed out the weekend on Sunday night where Wild Bill Henry took the win over Dick Fowler and Ray Sitterly. Down in the southland Eddie Royster won a Late Model Sportsman event at South Boston.

Forty five years ago in 1975, the Yankee All Star league visited Waterford on Wednesday with Ronnie Bouchard taking the win. Freeport Speedway on Long Island was having financial problems and announced that they were closing down. Ironically, the last show rained out and was not rescheduled. In other Long Island action, Charlie Jarzombek went two for two as he won on Saturday night at Islip and again on Sunday at Westhampton. Saturday night at Stafford saw Geoff Bodine beating out Brian Ross, Bugsy Stevens and John Rosati. Shangri-La ran double features with Sonney Seamon and George Kent taking top honors and at Lancaster; Maynard Troyer took the main event. Dick Dunn, in the Al and Peg Gaudreau No.3 won the 100 lap Mid Season Championship at Waterford. Bob Gada Sr was the Grand American Late Model winner. Fred Astle Sr put the Steve May No, 15 in victory lane at Seekonk. Sunday night racing at Fulton was cancelled because of rain.

Forty years ago in 1980, Modified Madness came to Stafford on Tuesday. Supermodifieds were also on the program with a separate feature. Richie Evans, complete with a wing won the modified portion over Ronnie Bouchard and Bugsy Stevens. Bentley Warren and Bob Stelter finished one-two as they turned laps consistently in 18.40-sec. Thursday night at Monadnock; Punky Caron made it two in a row. John Rosati and Ron Bouchard followed but had nothing for the Goshen, N.H. Police Chief. Friday night at Stafford Ronnie Bouchard returned to the winners circle as he beat out Bugsy Stevens and Corky Cookman. At Spencer it was George Kent over Jerry Cook, Doug Hewitt and Lou Lazzaro. Saturday night action saw Bugsy Stevens over Ronnie Bouchard and Bob Fuller at Westboro. At Waterford, Bob Potter added to his feature win total as he won a 100 lapper over Rick Donnelly, Dickie Doo Ceravolo and Bill Greco. Ron Sly Fox was the Superstock winner and Joe Mullen won his first Grand American-Late Model finish. Gil Hearne won the Garden State Classic at Wall Stadium over Jim Hoffman. Other weekend winners included Richie Evans at Riverside and Thompson, Jerry Cook at Shangri-La and Tom McCann at Islip.

Thirty five years ago in 1985, the modified tour visited Stafford on Tuesday for a 50 lapper. Richie Evans took the win over Reggie Ruggerio and Charlie Jarzombek. The only thing that stopped Evans from a grand slam for the weekend was rain at Spencer on Friday night as he also won at Shangri-La on Saturday and at Thompson on Sunday. Stafford ran on Friday night and it was Ruggerio at the stripe over Jarzombek. Richie Gallup beat out Harry Rice at Waterford on Saturday and at Riverside, Kenny Bouchard beat old pro Bob Polverari. Jim Spencer made a rare appearance at Wall Stadium on Saturday and walked of with the 200 lap Garden State Classic. Keith Williams was the Thompson SK modified winner. In Winston Cup news, Bobby Allison, unhappy with his DiGard team bought out his contract and was immediately replaced by Greg Sacks who had recently won the Pepsi 400 at Daytona in a DiGard R & D car crew chiefed by Gary Nelson.

Thirty years ago in 1990, rain washed out just about everything except events at Waterford and Riverside. At Waterford, George Greco, nephew of auto racing legend Bill Greco, won his first ever SK modified feature. Jim Broderick finished second. At Riverside, Bob Polverari took the win over Reggie Ruggerio and Eddie Spires. The racing world was shocked and saddened when it was learned that veteran car owner Richard Armstrong was operated on to remove a cancerous tumor.

Twenty five years ago in 1995, the modified tour visited Riverside Park on Wednesday. Mike Stefanik took the lead from Dan Avery with three to go to win the slam-bang 150 lapper. Avery finished second with Mike Ewanitsko, third. Waterford ran a mid-week special on Wednesday with Jim Broderick all but unbeatable over Bert Marvin, Todd Ceravolo and Jerry Pearl. Friday night at Stafford, Lloyd Agor held off Ted Christopher and John Anderson for the SK mod win. Blast Off 95, which had been rained out in April, was finally run at Waterford on Saturday night. John Anderson passed Todd Ceravolo with 12 laps to go and walked off with the top money. Jim Broderick ended up third. Dan Avery won out over Reggie Ruggerio at Riverside and at Riverhead it was Ed Brunnhoelzl over Don Howe. In Winston Cup action, Sterling Marlin won at Talladega which was the scene of an end over end by Ken Schrader who had made contact with Jeff Gordon. The Busch North Series ran at Monadnock. Dave Dion took the lead from Kelly Moore with 63 laps to go and won that event.

Twenty years ago in 2000, the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Series was at the Thompson Speedway for a Thursday night, 150-lap event. Jerry Marquis, in the Mario Fiore No. 44 took the lead from Tom Cravenho on lap127 and went on to score the win. Ted Christopher, in the Brady Bunch No. 00 finished second with Reggie Ruggerio, third. Ricky Fuller and John Blewett III rounded out the top five. Bert Marvin won the 30-lap Sunoco SK-type modified feature. Todd Ceravolo finished second. Jim Williams scored his first ever SK Modified win on Friday night at Stafford. Brad Hietella finished second. Tucker Reynolds won a 100 lapper at Waterford on Saturday night. Dennis Gada and Ed Reed Jr followed. Chuck Steuer was the winner at Riverhead. In Winston Cup action at Pocono, Rusty Wallace took the 500-mile win after Jeremy Mayfield blew a tire on the last lap. In Busch Series racing at Pikes Peak, Jeff Green took the win over David Green and Andy Santerre.

Fifteen years ago in 2005 the True Value Modified Series along with the Seekonk Speedway and Viveiros Insurance of Southeastern Mass. embarked on a bold experiment on Wednesday with the presentation of “Modified Madness” which featured a 100 lap main event paying $10,000 to win. Now in its second year of existence the True Value Modified Series was born in New Hampshire as a result of the Claremont Speedway doing away with the Modifieds for 2004. The TVMS has become a less expensive alternative to the NASCAR sanctioned Whelen Modified Tour. A good mix of Mod Tour and TVMS cars were on hand as the field totaled 27. When the dust finally settled it was Modified Tour regular Donnie Lia taking the win and the top prize. Lia passed Ted Christopher in the final moments. Open Wheeled Modified Racing on a short track is a contact sport. The Viveirous 100 was just that. Eric Beers started on the outside pole and was able to wrestle the lead from Mike Christopher on lap 2. Beers led the event until lap 78 when he unavoidably crashed into a lapped car. Kirk Alexander, who was running second at the time, crashed into Beers. Both pitted for repairs and were able to rejoin the fray. With 22 laps to go Beers was able to battle his way to the front and at the finish ended up third behind Lia and Christopher. Rounding out the top five at the finish was Eric Berndt. Alexander ended his night in 19th spot.

Defending Sunoco Modified champion Todd Ceravolo got his first win of the season at the Thompson Speedway on Thursday night. Ceravolo started sixth and ended up beating his former mount, being driven by Tom Cravenho, to the finish line. Bert Marvin finished third with Richard Savory, fourth. Bo Gunning made a strong return as he finished fifth. Other winners were Corey Hutchings in the Late Models, Jeff Zuidema in the Pro Stocks, Glenn Boss in the Limited Sportsman, Rick Blanchard in the Mini Stocks and Chad Gaudiosi in the Thompson Modifieds.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series traveled to the Beech Ridge Speedway in Maine on Saturday night. Jerry Marquis ended a long dry spell as he secured his first victory for car owner Bob Garbarino. Marquis, who went non-stop in the 150-lap event, took the lead on lap 8 from Nevin George. George later dropped out with transmission problems on lap 114. Tony Hirschman finished second with Eric Beers in the mighty No. 3 of the Boehler family, third. Steve Whitt and Ted Christopher rounded out the top five. Twenty-eight cars made the trip to Maine.

It was announced at the drivers meeting in Beech Ridge that the Seekonk Speedway would not honor the long standing gentlemen’s agreement of allowing teams to pre-sign up to 10 crew members at a discounted rate of $25.00 per driver. Ed Cox (NASCAR tour director) was called on Thursday by the Seekonk management to let the teams know it would be $40.00 per person. This did not go over well with the teams. There was a petition signed by all drivers/owners at Beech Ridge and handed to NASCAR, if the sign-in is not honored (10 crew @ $25.00) there would be no race. Evidently the Seekonk management was not happy with the support they got for their recent Mid-Week open event.

At Stafford on Friday night it looked as though the Coors Light SK Modified 100 would go off without a hitch but the rain gods had other ideas as the event was soaked after only 34 laps were completed. The 100 lapper would be completed on Friday, July 29, with Don Lia leading the pack. Willie Hardie will start second with Jeff Malave, third. Ed Ricard was the Late Model winner with Michael Bennett taking the limited late model feature. On Sunday night the Stafford Speedway finished up the 100 lap Late Model ASB 100 that was rained on at the beginning of the month. Scott Foster JR. won the event 16 years after his father won the same race. Keith Rocco scored his first ever SK Modified win.

The Waterford Speedbowl hosted the Busch North Series on Saturday night. Despite the efforts of NASCAR to make for better racing Matt Kobyluck led all 150 laps to take the green. In four of five Busch North Series events in 2005 there has not been one lead change except when Ryan Moore led at Waterford for two different laps. Had it not been for Mike Stefanik pitting for tires at the recent Loudon event it would have been five for five with no passing. It is not the fault of the Busch North Series teams that the events have been yawners. NASCAR mandated a new tire for this year and since then it’s been a down hill slide. The Busch North Series race teams are hard working, highly competitive individuals and deserve better than this. Jeff Pearl went pole to pole to win the SK Modified feature at the shoreline oval.

Kurt Busch won the Nextel Cup event at Pocono and David Green was the Busch Series winner at Pikes Peak.

Ten years ago in 2010, The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour traveled to the 1.53-mile, 12-turn road course at Lime Rock Park in Northwestern Connecticut last Friday and Saturday for a 66 lap-101 mile event that carried a race purse of $85,810. With a somewhat short field of 25 cars on hand Todd Szegedy ran a lap of 53.099 seconds on the 1.5-mile road course for an average speed of 101.697 mph. Szegedy was among the final group of cars to go out under NASCAR’s road-course qualifying rules, and the time on his second lap knocked Ted Christopher off the pole. Christopher had posted a lap of 53.220 (101.466) in the second-to-last group and wound up second overall in qualifying for Saturday’s Lime Rock 100. Erick Rudolph qualified third, followed by Mike Stefanik and Rowan Pennink. Points leader Bobby Santos qualified 10th.

Dale Quarterley got past the weekend’s dominant car of Todd Szegedy with three laps remaining and captured the checkered flag in the inaugural Lime Rock 100 at Lime Rock Park. Szegedy led from the start of the race, and at times drove away from the field. Following a caution on Lap 56, Quarterley restarted fourth when the race went back green on Lap 59. Quarterley worked past Ted Christopher and Mike Stefanik and was able to make the winning move on Szegedy in Turn 1 on Lap 63. Quarterley made his first Whelen Modified Tour appearance since 2008 as he drove the No. 52 Furnace & Duct Supply Chevrolet this weekend for car owner Wayne Darling. An accomplished road racer, Quarterley had two previous wins at Lime Rock in NASCAR K&N Pro Series East races. On Saturday, while in third with 20 laps to go, he pitted for tires. It proved to be the difference as he was able to knife through the field in the last third of the race. Szegedy wound up second, followed by Ron Silk, Ryan Preece and Ted Christopher in the top five.

Mike Stefanik, Chuck Hossfeld, Ed Flemke Jr., Jamie Tomaino and Wade Cole brought home the top 10 in the Whelen Modified Tour’s first road course race since 2000, and just the seventh in the 26-year history of the division. Points leader and winner of three of the first five races of the year, Bobby Santos finished 17th after he suffered a blown engine on Lap 62, while fifth-place qualifier Rowan Pennink’s day ended with a broken axle on Lap 2, though he did return to run a handful of laps late. Santos retains a 74-point lead after six races with Szegedy now up to second in the standings.

Thirteen of the 25 starters finished on the lead lap. In addition to Santos also losing engines were Justin Bonsignore, Richie Pallai, Jr., Kevin Goodale and Eric Beers.

There were 5 cautions for 21 laps. Quarterly received $6,900 for his efforts.

The Thompson International Speedway Thursday night Thunder series continued to be a big draw for fans looking to get their racing fix without disrupting their weekend. Despite somewhat short fields of cars the competition is far from short. Ted Christopher made it three in a row in Sunoco Modified (SK type) competition. He was not as fortunate in the special Tour type Modified event as he found himself sliding into the wall after a confrontation with Tom Bolles. Christopher did recover to finish sixth as Mike Stefanik and Ron Silk finished one-two

Other Thompson winners included Randy Cabral of Plymouth, MA who won the Marvin Rifchin Memorial event for the Northeastern Midget Association (NEMA), Rick Gentes who won his third Late Model victory of the season, Shawn Monahan in the Limited Sportsman main event who also scored his third victory of the season. Brian Tagg earned to his first TIS Modified win of the 2010 season and Leo Defevers, made it two in a row in Mini Stock action.

The tale of the tape showed 18 Sunoco Modifieds, 13 Tour type Mods, 21 Limited Sportsman, 9 Thompson Modifieds, 11 Late Models and 13 NEMA Midgets. In all fairness the speedway management announced that 14 positions not paid the previous week in the Tour type Mods would be paid as bonus money. Some have been critical of the low count of Tour type Modifieds at Thompson. It must be considered that the Whelen Modified Tour Series was running at Lime Rock and the Modified Racing Series (formerly True Value) was running at Monadnock only two days later. The majority of race teams involved in these series simply cannot afford tires or a mechanical problem which would keep them out of competition in their respective series.

Among the special guests at Thompson Speedway were NEAR Hall of Fame inductees Leo Cleary and Billy Harman

The Modified Racing Series headed to the Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, NH on Saturday, July 3. Kirk Alexander, the three-time Modified Racing Series champion, captured his sixth “Firecracker 100” win. The win was his 19th at Monadnock and his 32nd career win with the touring series for modified race cars. Alexander passed early race leader Sean Bodreau, on lap 15, and went on to score the victory. Jon McKennedy finished second after a late race charge followed by Jim Boniface who finished third. Chris Pasteryak and Dwight Jarvis rounded out the top five. The event drew 33 race teams. The Modified Racing Series, sponsored by BobValentiAutoMall.com next competes at Lee USA Speedway, Lee, NH, Friday night July 9.

In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series division racing at the Stafford Motor Speedway Keith Rocco recovered from his Thursday night disappointment at the Thompson Speedway as he made it four in a row in SK Modified competition. Rocco, who now has seven victories overall at Stafford, took the lead from Ted Christopher on lap 33 of the 40 lap feature. With Rocco out front Christopher had his hands full as Jeff Malave tried his utmost to take over the runner-up spot. With Rocco long gone, Christopher was able to prevail over Malave. Jeff Baral, and Bo Gunning rounded out the top-5.

Other Friday night winners at Stafford were Ryan Posocco who picked up his second win of 2010 in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Dylan Liseo who scored his first career victory by a nose in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, Shawn Thibeault who won his first race of the season in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Stephen Daddio who was a first time career winner in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.

The Waterford Speedbowl hosted the mid-season Speedbowl.com 300 on Saturday, an extra-distance extravaganza for its NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions. In total, fans were treated to six divisions and 300 laps of feature racing. Keith Rocco continues to dominate the SK Modified action at the shoreline oval as he recorded his seventh track win of the year. Bruce Thomas Jr. returned to the winner’s circle in the Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Models, while it was Ed Puleo and Sean Caron each scoring their third win of the year in the Street Stock and Norwich Bulletin Mini Stock races. Allen Coates continued his mastery of the A.B. CDL Driver Training Center Truck division and Anthony Flannery topped the Legends Cars field once again.

For the record, Rocco record had 17 wins for the season. His NASCAR total was sixteen.

In NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour action at the Caraway Speedway in North Carolina John Smith worked his way past L.W. Miller on a green-white-checkered finish to win the Firecracker 150. Smith, who started alongside leader Miller on the final restart, was able to get the lead and held on for his first win in his 44th career start on the tour. James Civali followed Smith and Miller across the line for a finish of third. Jason Myers and Burt Myers logged fourth and fifth-place finishes, respectively.

The Bowman Gray Stadium was quiet for the holiday weekend.

At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island the Modifieds had a 50-lap, double-point feature, where Chuck Steuer led green to checker for the win.

A wild night race at Daytona International Speedway ended with Kevin Harvick taking the NASCAR Sprint Cup Daytona 400 checkered flag, teammate Clint Bowyer spinning through the infield grass and several angry drivers searching for answers. Kasey Kahne finished second. Despite a record 18 leaders and 47 lead changes, the real excitement resulted from six multi-car crashes in the second half of the race that essentially wiped out half the field. The biggest of them all, a 20-car melee that included four-time defending series champion Jimmie Johnson, came with 12 laps to go and halted action for 20 minutes. Jeff Gordon was third, followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Burton, Edwards and Busch.

Dale Earnhardt jr raced to his first victory since 2008 on Friday night, driving a tribute car to his father in the Nationwide Series race. It was Earnhardt’s first points win since his Sprint Cup Series victory at Michigan in 2008, and his first Nationwide win since Michigan in 2006.

Five years ago in 2015, The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series visited the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, NH for a twin bill which was run in conjunction with the Sprint Cup and Xfinity Series races that were also run.

The All-Star Shootout, run on Friday, consisted of a 20-car field that primarily featured champions and race winners from NASCAR’s Whelen Modified and Whelen Southern Modified Tours who were pre-qualified for the special event. Not even the late-race invert of the leaders could derail Woody Pitkat’s plans to return to Victory Lane at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Pitkat, in the Long Island based Buzz Chew #88, took the lead for the sixth and final time in the last of the All-Star Shootout and held off Ryan Preece and Donny Lia in a sprint to the finish in Friday’s 35-lap non-points event.

Leading at the Lap 20 break, an invert of the top six in the running order sent Pitkat from the first to the third rows to restart with 15 to go. He quickly moved his way back into contention and to the lead with three to go. As the three-way battle developed, Preece held the point position at the white flag, but Pitkat came out on top. Preece crossed the finish line second and Lia held on for third. Justin Bonsignore followed in fourth with Bobby Santos fifth. Ted Christopher, Eric Goodale, Ron Silk, Ryan Newman and Andy Seuss brought home the top 10.

There was joy in Mystic Connecticut as Todd Szegedy put the Bob Garbarino owned Mystic Missile in victory lane at the conclusion of Saturday’s Andy Blacksmith 100 presented by Donate Life New England at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The Mystic Missile is no stranger to victory lane in Loudon as Szegedy gave Garbarino his seventh win at the New Hampshire oval and first since 2009. After much resistance Garbarino went with a NASCAR Spec engine.

Starting fifth, Szegedy battled up front all day while leading 22 laps. He was able to fend off runner-up Donny Lia and third-place Bobby Santos after a late-race caution set up the final dash as he beat Lia to the line by .041 seconds. Patrick Emerling and Ron Silk rounded out the top five. Ryan Preece finished sixth ahead of Woody Pitkat, Eric Goodale, Keith Rocco and Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Chase Dowling.

Preece, who entered the event tied with Doug Coby atop the championship points standings, now leads Pitkat by four points and Szegedy by 19. Coby had a rough day to say the least. After he won the Coors Light Pole Award earlier in the day and led 12 laps in the first half of the race, he was caught up in a multi-car incident following the second-half restart on Lap 55 and wound up finishing 30th. He dropped to fourth in points, 25 behind Preece.

Twenty three of the 34 starters, 19 on the lead lap, were running at the finish. There were five cautions including the mid-race full field caution. The first caution came on lap 12 when Andy Seuss spun in turn four. Seuss was able to restart. From there to the half way mark the field stayed under green. Shortly following the halfway restart a mass front stretch tangle ensued when Don Lia ran into Doug Coby which in turn sent him out of control across the track into Woody Pitkat who in turn was hit by his brother in law, Bobby Santos. Ted Christopher and Jeff Goodale were also collected in the melee. Pitkat and Santos were able to drive away. Goodale, Christopher and Coby were towed off, done for the day. The fourth caution was displayed when Gary Putnam got loose and collected Andy Seuss and Shawn Solomito.Seuss escaped but Putnam and Solomito were done for the day. The fifth and final caution came on lap94 when Troy Talman hit Rowan Pennink while trying to pass in turn three. Collected in the process was Seuss and Anthony Nocella. All four cars were eliminated.

At the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night it was the Girls Night Out / Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund Track Walk program with all 6 divisions in action plus a track walk that raised money for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund. Taking down feature victories were on the night were Ryan Preece in the SK Modified® feature, Michael Bennett in the Late Model feature, Stephen Kopcik in the SK Light feature, Al Saunders in the Ltd. Late Model feature, Marcello Rufrano in the DARE Stock feature, and Dana DiMatteo in the Legend Cars feature.

In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Preece went around early leader Joey Cipriano to take over the lead on lap-15. With eight laps to go Rowan Pennink made his move to take over second but Preece had nearly the full length of the straightaway for good cushion over Pennink. In taking the checkered flag Preece made it two in a row at Stafford. Pennink settled for second with Cipriano, Ronnie Williams, and Eric Berndt rounding out the top-5.

The New London-Waterford Speedbowl returned to action after a week off. Veteran drivers Ted Christopher and Keith Rocco, who competed earlier in the day at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway, hustled back in time to take part in the weekly Saturday night card at the Connecticut shoreline oval and both came away with victories. Christopher captured the 35-lap SK Modified feature while Rocco visited Victory Lane after winning the 30-lap Late Model feature. Rocco continues to set records as he now has 114 combined wins at the Speedbowl and an overall total of 202 wins at Connecticut tracks.

The other Speedbowl feature winners were Brandon Plemons (25-lap Limited Sportsman), Keith Cassidy Jr. (25-lap Mini Stock) and Dana Dimatteo (Legends Cars).

In the SK Modified feature, Christopher started 11th and worked his way to the front, finishing ahead of Rob Janovic Jr. (second) and Diego Monahan (third). Joe Gada and Keith Rocco rounded out the top five. Rocco also worked his way to the front of the Late Model feature after starting seventh. He took the checkered flag ahead of runner-up Christopher Garside and Jason Palmer, who placed third.

Tom Rogers Jr. scored his fourth Modified win at the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island. Riverhead paid the price for a high car count at Loudon as only 12 cars were on hand.

Area Auto Racing News reported that Riverhead Raceway owners Barbara and Jim Cromarty have entered into a purchase agreement to sell the last remaining speedway on Long Island to Eddie and Connie Partridge. The Cromarty’s have owned the Riverhead Long Island oval since 1984.

Down in the southland at the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem NC Burt Myers ended a two-month dry spell shortly before thunderstorms opened up on the Winston-Salem area. Jason Myers finished second in the 25 lapper with Robert Jeffreys, third. New York invader Andy Jankowiak finished fourth with Junior Miller, fifth.

On a sad note, Michael Jaworecki‎ sends word that Long Island Modified competitor Chris Young passed away.

Kyle Busch continued his march towards the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup by winning Sunday’s 5-Hour Energy 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. In Xfinity Series competition, Denny Hamlin had trouble keeping his car on the bottom of the track in Saturday’s Lakes Region 200 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. It caused him to spin early on, but it ended up helping him drive to victory.

Last year, 2019, The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series had the weekend off in order to prepare for a double header scheduled at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Riverhead Raceway on Long Island ran on Wednesday night. John Beatty Jr who came within inches of winning the July 6 Whelen Modified Tour event got his just due on Wednesday night in a 50-lap midweek special. The win was the 7th of Beatty’s career and in a odd statistical twist 3 of those 7 victories have come on a Wednesday night with John having swept Twin 50 lap NASCAR Modified races in 2018. Second generation driver Chris Young finished second while Kyle Soper claimed third place money. Dave Brigati and Craig Lutz rounded out the top five.

At the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night tour style modifieds took center stage for an 80-lap race around the Connecticut half-mile, Ronnie Williams came home as the big winner, holding off Matt Swanson in a four lap sprint to the finish.

The SK Modified® division ran their regularly scheduled 40-lap feature as well as the 2nd Annual TC 13 Shootout, a 13 lap race contested between the top-13 finishers from the 40-lap feature that paid the winner an extra $1,313 from a purse of nearly $7,000. Stephen Kopcik won the 40-lap SK Modified® feature and Keith Rocco came up the big winner of the TC 13 Shootout. Other feature winners included Tom Fearn in the Late Model feature, Bryan Narducci in the SK Light feature, Alexandra Fearn in the Limited Late Model feature, and Zack Robinson in the Street Stock feature.

In the SK 40 lapper, Kopcik got clear from Rocco and Owen got clear from Cipriano with ten to go. Kopcik then pulled alongside Ron Williams in a fight for the race lead. Kopcik got clear to the lead on lap-33 with Keith Rocco and Williams now side by side for second behind Kopcik with Todd Owen on the back bumpers of Williams and Rocco.

Williams cleared Rocco for second on lap-34 and was all over Kopcik’s bumper looking to retake the lead. Williams dove to the inside of Kopcik into turn 3 on lap-37 but couldn’t make the pass. Rocco and Williams were side by side for second coming to the white flag and Rocco took the spot at the line. Rocco couldn’t get around Kopcik as he took down his first win of the 2019 season. Williams finished third with Owen and Glen Reen rounding out the top-5. Following the completion of the 40-lap feature, Ted Christopher’s niece Nicole redrew the number 7 to invert the top-7 of the 13 cars transferring into the TC Shootout.

In the 13-lap TC Shootout, Joey Cipriano took the lead on lap-1 with Eric Berndt and Todd Owen side by side for second. By lap-3 Owen was in the lead, Cipriano and Keith Rocco were side by side for second, Berndt was fourth and Glen Reen was fifth. Rocco took the lead from Owen on lap-5 but Owen wasn’t going away quietly. Owen ran side by side for a lap with Rocco before nearly executing a crossover move on lap-7. Owen was able to get to the inside of Rocco on lap-8 and he had the lead at the line. Rocco came back to Owen’s inside on lap-10 and took the lead by a nose at the line. Reen was third with Kopcik up to fourth and Cipriano fifth.

The cars came to the white flag with Owen glued to Rocco’s back bumper. Rocco held off Owen’s last ditch effort to take the checkered flag and the $1,313 winner’s purse. Kopcik finished third behind Rocco and Owen with Cipriano and Berndt rounding out the top-5.

In the SK Lites, Bryan Narducci continues to be the real deal as he wracked up his fourt win of the season at Stafford. In an event that went non-stop, Narducci started 15th and took the lead after sliding by Mikey Flynn in turns 1+2 on the final lap.

The Valenti Modified Racing Series was scheduled to run at the Lee USA Speedway in New Hampshire on Friday night. When that event was cancelled late in the afternoon some competitors opted to go to Stafford which swelled the field of cars in competition to 30.

Ron Williams got a good run to Todd Owen’s inside on lap-56 and he took the lead on lap-57. With 20 laps to go, the order was Williams in the lead with Eric Goodale, Owen, Matt Swanson, Matt Galko, Chase Dowling, Rocco, Christopher, Molleur, and Gallup making up the top-10.

With 10 laps to go, Williams was slowly stretching out his lead over Goodale in second while Swanson got by Owen to move into third. Dowling was now looking to get by Owen to take fourth with Rocco right behind Dowling. Dowling took fourth on lap-73 and Rocco took fifth from Owen on lap-74 as Williams continued to pull away. Williams’ advantage was erased by the caution for a spin by Kopec in the middle of turns 3+4 with 75 laps complete.

Williams took the lead on the restart with Goodale in second. Owen drifted up the track in turn 4 to lose a couple spots but the race stayed green until a multi car spin brought the caution back out with 76 laps complete.

Williams took the lead while Swanson pulled alongside Goodale for second. Swanson cleared Goodale on lap-78 with Rocco in fourth and Galko in fifth. Goodale and Swanson touched wheels with Goodale going through the grass and rejoining the track to keep the race under green. Williams led Swanson to the checkered flag to pick up the win. Rocco finished third with Galko and Christopher rounding out the top-5.

Down in the southland at the Bowman Gray Stadium it was Girls Night Out with all females getting in for $2.00. Jonathan Brown held off James Civali and Burt Myers on Saturday night in the 100-lap race for his first win of the season. Brown started fourth, took the lead on lap 42 after he, Jason Myers, Tim Brown and Danny Bohn made contact coming around turn 4. Jonathan Brown got through unscathed and took first place. There was another caution on lap 59 and Burt Myers moved to second ahead of Civali. Civali slipped past him coming around turn 1 on the restart.

After another caution on lap 81, Jonathan Brown led and bolted past Burt Myers and Civali. Saturday’s race was one of the Fans’ Challenge races in which the top four qualifiers in the Modified Division have the option to go to the back of the field to try to finish in the top four to collect all or a portion of the $3,000 Challenge. Brown elected to do it in the last Challenge in June, but after qualifying second on Saturday, he chose not to do the Fans’ Challenge.

In 100-lap Modified races there’s a full-field redraw anyway, and with double points in all divisions Saturday night, he wanted to take the chance at a straight redraw. Tim Brown was the points leader by 10 points over Myers, but Myers, the nine-time and three-time defending champion, finished runner-up and Tim Brown finished eighth to allow Myers to overtake Tim Brown and lead the points by 10. Jonathan Brown went from fourth place to second and trails Myers by four points.

That’s about it for this week from 11 Gardner Drive, Westerly, and R.I.02891. Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467. E-mail smithpe_97_97@yahoo.com

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